UNEP’s 2023 Emission Gap Report: Broken Record

Temperatures hit new highs, yet world fails to cut emissions (again)

The United Nations Environmental Programme observes the unprecedented acceleration of the speed and scale of new climate change records being broken combined with the disturbingly hum-drum of repeated and urgent scientific warnings remaining unheeded. The title selected for this year’s emissions gap report provides a most perfect and almost humorous double entendre to this otherwise scary scenario.

The United Nations Environmental Programme observes the unprecedented acceleration of the speed and scale of new climate change records being broken combined with the disturbingly hum-drum of repeated and urgent scientific warnings remaining unheeded. The title selected for this year’s emissions gap report provides a most perfect and almost humorous double entendre to this otherwise scary scenario.

2023 had 86 days with temperatures exceeding 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, with the summer the hottest ever on record, breaking the previous record by an unprecedented 0.5°C, while global average temperatures clocked in at 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels. These records already signal that we are precariously close to passing the 1.5°C temperature limit permanently.

Th UN publishes its Emissions Gap Report ahead of the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (COP 28), to provide an independent science-based assessment of the gap between the pledged greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and the reductions required to align with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The report aims to provide findings relevant to the COP discussions under the global stocktake, which will require significantly more ambitious targets, if we are to even have any chance of keeping temperatures below 2°C in increase, which will be devastating.

As the below graphic shows, the nations of the world are arguing about how to achieve the orange reductions and are not yet at agreement on the red reductions, which will lead to at least 3°C increase. We are not yet on a track for keeping temperature increases to 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, where we need to be.

Figure ES.4 (Executive Summary page 9) Current energy policies have us on the dark blue line. We should be in the Green zone.

References

The UNEP’s 2023 Emission Gap Report: Broken Record, Executive Summary with Key Takeaways, an audio introduction and graphical animations.
The Full Broken Record Report (PDF)
, published November 20, 2023 (15 pages).